HOME COOK OF THE YEAR IS A FANTASTIC SUCCESS!Sep11
The Grand Final of our inaugural Home Cook of the Year Competition proved to be one of the major highlights of this year’s Leamington Food & Drink Festival, showcasing an abundance of home grown cooking talent and providing entertainment and fun for the packed audience and judges.
Kate Reddington from Leamington Spa was crowned with the coveted title following the live cook-off in the Grand Final and wowed the celebrity judges with her tempting menu that featured Cornish rack of Aubrey Allen lamb with a pesto crust, served with puy lentils and a slow roasted tomato as the main course.
Being crowned Home Cook of the Year Kate, who is married with two grown-up children, wins two places at Aubrey Allen’s Butchery School and two places at Simpsons Cookery School including dinner for two and an overnight stay at Simpsons in Edgbaston, Birmingham.
Commenting Kate said: “It feels fantastic to win. I love cooking at home for my family and friends but have never done anything like this before. The set up in the Live Kitchen was great and it’s been a tremendous experience.”
Judging the culinary talents of the four talented finalists were Michelin star chef and local food hero Andreas Antona from Simpsons, and Brian Turner CBE the UK’s favourite Chef. The gourmet duo were joined by Warwick and Leamington Spa MP Chris White as the third umpire who provided a subjective palate on the tasting panel.
Sue Gallagher a grandmother, former magistrate and currently a district councillor for Leek Wootton took the runners-up spot for a place at Aubrey Allen’s Butchery School and dinner for four at Oscars French Bistro in Leamington Spa. Dario Canevazzi an engineer with JLR won dinner for two at Oscars for third place and Alex Stiby a researcher at Oxford University received a £50 voucher for Aubrey Allen Butcher & Deli for fourth place.
All four finalists were shortlisted on the basis of submitting their most favourite three course menu, which included a cold starter, a hot main course using Aubrey Allen’s ‘Farm Assured’ Cornish lamb and their very best dessert. Each finalised prepared and cooked their nominated lamb main course live in front of a packed audience in brilliant sunshine, with entertaining compering provided by Peter Allen, together with Brian Turner and Andreas Antona.
Brian Turner said he was impressed with the standard of all four finalists and the festival overall. He said: “It’s my first time here and it’s been a great day out. There’s a huge amount going on with all the stallholders and live music, and so many people here. It’s a great atmosphere.
“I’m gobsmacked that the competition drew so many people to watch. It just goes to show that even if you are only a cook for a family at home that with a bit of effort you can cook really good and tasty food that keeps everyone entranced. The finalists did a great job with a well-deserved winner.”
Andreas Antona added: “It was a very high standard considering the finalists are all home cooks. I have judged worse professional competitions! It was the precision of Kate’s cooking that won her the title.”
Commenting on the success of the competition, Peter Allen, chairman of Aubrey Allen said: “The interest in our Home Cook of the Year event has been phenomenal and we’d like to thank everyone who took part as the standard of entries were exceptional. Shortlisting our four finalists was not an easy task and without any prior knowledge to personal details we were thrilled to have selected such a diverse range of finalists.
“Collectively they brought an inspirational mix and different styles of home cooking to the Grand Final and provided visitors to the Leamington Food & Drink Festival with an entertaining attraction and the opportunity to taste some of their produce.
“Our special congratulations go to Kate Reddington who is a really worthy winner as a very talented home cook and we also wish to extend our thanks to all the finalists for being such great contestants in taking part and having a lot of fun in the process.
“Such was the interest and success of the event that we are planning to run the competition again at next year’s Leamington Food & Drink Festival.”